New Obec head pledges reform as Asean beckons

New Obec head pledges reform as Asean beckons

The new head of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) has pledged education reform to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the start of the Asean community next year.

Speaking on his first day in office yesterday, Kamol Rodklai, Obec secretary-general, also pledged to stick to his brief from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Mr Kamol replaced Apichart Jeerawuth, who was removed as Obec secretary-general in an order issued by the NCPO on Friday.

Mr Kamol said his urgent policy as the new Obec chief was to improve the national curriculum, and learning and teaching methods to equip students with 21st century skills and knowledge.

The curriculum changes will also place more importance on the country's history and civic education to promote a sense of unity and patriotism, he said.

Mr Kamol said the NCPO's policy to scrap the One Tablet per Child scheme initiated by the former Pheu Thai-led government will be upheld. The scheme will be replaced by smart classrooms to be built at each school nationwide.

"The tablet budget for the 2013 and 2014 academic years will be spent on creating smart classrooms in about 15,000-18,000 schools nationwide. Each school given tablets has to figure out how to make best use of the devices, as they will not be given away to students or returned to Obec," he said.

The smart classroom scheme will be forwarded to the military junta's social and psychological affairs panel for further consideration.

Mr Kamol said he will also work towards reducing educational inequality in education quality and standards. "Today, every student has an equal opportunity to enter school so we plan to enhance school quality and standards, allowing students to have equal access to better education," he said.

Obec will also expand the satellite-based Klaikangwon Palace distance learning scheme to cover all schools, especially small ones.

The NCPO has approved the Education Ministry's 2015 fiscal budget worth 504,161 million baht, 4.4% higher than this year. Of the amount, 311,775 million baht has been allocated to Obec while the rest goes to the Office of the Higher Education Commission.

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